Thursday, February 14, 2008

Lost in a Space

"Ya, I know I should do that, but ..."

We get so much advice. TV, radio, newspapers, web pages, strangers, even family is constantly offering up good and tasty tidbits about how we should live our lives.

There is financial advice, which you really should follow. Career advice which hugely affects your life. Health advice, the most critical of all. Advice about how to care for the car, house or cottage. Advice to be happier or more productive. Advice about relaxing. Advice about learning and advice about hobbies.

We are, it seems downing in an unlimited sea of advice. That might be OK, if underneath it all it was well-meaning, but much of it is not. Lots of the advice we receive is tainted by the fortunes of someone, somewhere. Buying advice helps corporations, lifestyle choices help consultants, charitable advice keeps not-for-profit leaders in BMWs. Living advice is sometimes pegged to political parties or other social agenda.

It seems that most advice has that stench of market manipulation silently floating in the background. Disguising propaganda as wholesome advice has become an established marketing technique.

Even if we weeded out all of the ill-will, the sea of advice doesn't help us. You see, in the midst of their hurried revolution in the sixties to 'shake up' the world, the boomers did managed to get rid of the status quo, but they entirely forgot about the other half of the issue. It does no good to tear down the establishment, if your not planning to replace it with something better. And they didn't.

We have all sorts of wonderful equalities and freedoms, but no underlying conceptual idea about how we are supposed to behave. All of the freedom in the world, but no idea how to use it. As such, we walking wounded, perpetually confused about what we should, and should not be doing. Without some idyllic reference to a perfect person, a perfect couple or a perfect family, we don't know our own roles or where we fit in. When they trashed the status quo, they trashed the models that go with it. Now what are we supposed to do?

It's funny to be complaining about too much freedom, which I wouldn't, but the circumstances have just breed opportunities for shady people to pummel us with self-serving advice.

Here we are, endless victimized constantly by unscrupulous people telling us how to find the way out of this dazed and confused state of being. We're just accidents waiting to happen.

If we don't have any role models, or people to aspire to -- even if they are fictitious -- how do we know which advice to follow and which to disregard? Is work more important than family? Education more important than health? And in the end, what the hell is normal anymore? We can't even jump on the latest trend for comfort because the Internet has fragmented our culture into a million little dirty puddles. Other than watching the sad degeneration of our imploding celebrities, we have very little in common anymore with each other; there is so little binding us together as a collective culture.

It is best, I assume, in moments of this sort of crisis, to start tuning out everyone else. If you can't trust most of the advice, then don't follow any of it. Why drive yourself nuts in an overcomplicated society trying to be responsible, polite and keep up with the Jones, when your not even sure who the f*** the Jones are? In our decaying culture we are left with the only reasonable response: trust only your own advice. Opps, now I am giving advice. I guess it has become addictive.

Oddly, that particular type of meta-advice above, suggests we look back towards the influences that we receive as kids, which at the time was the status quo of the day. Is it possible that the only way we can move forward, to get a sane model that we can follow, is to go backwards?

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